The Tottleben family: Meatless in Illinois
Going strong -- mid-way through week one -- with salads, veggie pizza and fried polenta.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010 - 00:23
CRAZY FOR CARROTS: My daughter's salad before the explosion of ranch dressing. (Photo: Cy Tottleben)
Surprisingly, the family is still going strong.
I had honestly thought our daughter would have caved by now but she is doing amazingly well on the vegetarian diet. (But we really haven't pushed our taste buds out of the comfort zone and she drowns her food in ranch dressing [much to my horror] to cover the greens she doesn't enjoy.) Mom's secret to getting her to eat lettuce? Ask her to prep the salad. My daughter turns her nose up at any salad I make, but if she's the one cutting the carrots, it is suddenly her favorite food.
Today could have been tricky as we ventured out of town to a water park and ate on the road. But we made a good family decision and hit the lunch buffet at Pizza Hut on our way. In rural Illinois, this chain restaurant is about the only one offering a salad bar and always has a vegetarian pizza available. This meal turned out much better than we thought, as fresh pasta was served and it was absolutely delicious!
The black olive hummus I purchased at the deli did not go over well, but tonight we tried the polenta for dinner. I fried it with some oregano and fed it to my family with salsa and a bit of potato. I opted for some grated parmesan cheese on mine (minus the salsa) and we shared watermelon for dessert. An easy meal after a long day in the sun!
An added benefit to the vegetarian meals: the animals don't beg for food. Our family has six cats and a dog and every meal is an adventure in staving off feline paws and withstanding the I'm-starving eyes of our black lab. The prep work we did in the kitchen brought curious visits from everyone, but by the time we had the polenta in the pan, only the dog was diligent enough to linger nearby.
Overall the experiment is going well, although I don't know how long it will last once our two weeks is up. During our car ride home this afternoon my daughter sat in the back seat detailing her bacon fantasies and how she planned to gorge on her favorite meat the minute we weren't vegetarians anymore. I'm just proud that she has taken the plunge and given our family the opportunity to try something together, even if only for two weeks.
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